The European Starling first appeared in Tennessee in 1921, and continues to heavily populate the state. Known for its aggressive and destructive nature, the Starling can be a threat to local homeowners.
At 8.5” in length, the stocky black bird is known by its distinct physical characteristics including a long pointed bill and short square-tipped tail. In the winter, their glossy black feathers are tipped with white, which is shed in the springtime creating a purple-green gloss to their appearance. In the wintertime the bill is dark, and is yellow in the spring. With a wingspan of 16”, the small birds fly around in search of local food.
Fruit, vegetables, seeds, livestock feed, invertebrates and human scraps are all part of the Starling’s diet. Starlings eat some insects that are harmful to crops, but are typically considered to cause more harm than good. They are known to destroy crops, out-compete native birds in the hunt for winter food, and steal farmer’s grain.
Males begin building the nest before reproduction takes place. They use pine needles, grass, trash, cloth, and feathers in the nest’s cavity. Females make the final nest arrangements, and discard any nest materials they do not see fit. During the nesting period, fresh plants are added to the nest, which is completely built in 1 to 3 days. Typically, the clutch size is 3-6 eggs with an incubation period of 12 days.
The Starling exploits a wide variety of habitats, including urban and agricultural locations. They are often found living around humans in grassy, open locations. The birds require a water source, buildings or trees for nesting, and an area to forage.
Are Starling’s wreaking havoc on your home? Call in your local wildlife removal service. Professionals will work to identify wildlife patterns, and create a comprehensive plan of exclusion, ensuring the birds will not be able to return.
A European Starling’s jaw works backwards – their muscles are used to “spring” their bill open.
All North American European Starlings descended from 100 birds released in New York’s Central Park in the early 1890’s.
Starlings were formally used in Europe as caged birds. They are known for being great voice mimics.